SAG workers reject wage-increase offer

Employees want retroactivity to June 1, but SAG refused

With studio negotiations set to start Sept. 27, SAG is still working on some internal business.

In a vote Tuesday night, unionized SAG employees turned down a contract offer from the guild that featured 2% annual wage increases over the next three years. The employees, represented by Teamsters Local 986, want higher increases retroactive to June 1, the day the previous contract expired. SAG has refused retroactivity in its latest offer.

The employees, all SAG business representatives, view the guild's position on retroactivity as punitive and argue that their work isn't respected. A guild source responded that "SAG's employees are a significant part of our ability to deliver excellent member service, and we rely on their talents daily."

The guild's revised offer came during a negotiating session last week. Notably, the package omitted a proposal requiring employees to submit claims of discrimination to binding arbitration, rather than pursuing such claims in court. That proposal, which was in the guild's previous offer, had angered many of the employees.

The employees' most recent proposal calls for an annual bump of 5% in the first year and 4% in each of the second and third years. They plan to submit a revised offer to the guild todayThurs.

Sources on both sides expressed optimism that a deal could be reached. In the meantime, employees continue to work under the expired contract.

Negotiations come as the guild is set to begin talks next week with unionized employees in its New York office. At month's end, SAG and AFTRA's joint talks with the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers commence, and in October SAG begins bargaining with about 100 other unionized employees in its Los Angeles office.